KPs self inflicted retirement from limited over international cricket came as a sudden surprise for all concerned. The Surrey batsmen had scored 2 centuries in his last two one day games in the Emirates & was also the player of the match & series in the last Twenty20 series England contested against Pakistan in the Emirates. The flamboyant entertainer was at the peak of his powers, at his best, rediscovering his best form. In despite of the above, the former captain has decided to call time on his one day career, indicating the increasingly difficult demands of playing all 3 versions of the game in the modern age.
International cricket wants to see the best players take the field irrespective of the format. KP is one of England’s finest one day batsmen, capable of taking the game away from the opposition. His absence is a loss to both England & the game of cricket.
The retirement is somewhat of a wakeup call for administrators. In such a packed international calendar player burnouts were always going to be a competing threat. In a way I am pleased he has decided to prioritise the highest form of the game which shows that he values the significance of test matches, the format of cricket which ultimately defines greatness. However, to put the blame on increasing strains on his body when he had the opportunity of opting out of the Indian Premier League has raised many an eyebrow.
ECB made their stance clear. KP had to make himself available for one day internationals to play the Twenty20 format. Players could not pick and choose between formats. They had to make themselves available for all limited over cricket or none at all. It is understood that KP wanted to play the ICC World T20 in September, but the latest ECB policy did not all him to solely play T20 internationals alongside test matches & completely skipping the fifty over format. KP did however say if they could make an exception for KP to play in the forthcoming World tournament he would be willing to participate. It is a tempting consideration as KP was the player of the tournament in the last World T20 in the West Indies, England’s first major piece of one day silverware.
The bottom line is that administrators need to monitor the amount of one day cricket that is played. I for one believe there is plenty to benefit from having an IPL window for a maximum of 4 weeks as opposed to the current schedule which runs on for 2 months. Meaningless 6 or 7 match ODI series which drag on need to be scrapped without question. Test Cricket is for the purists with success in this format being the frontline priority over a number of years, T20s is a crowd puller, and ODIs should be a middle path primarily for world competitions. I would prefer having annual ODI tournaments such as a triangular series on a year to year basis, World Cup every 4 as is the case, Champions Trophy or a continental competition every 2nd year with less if not none bilateral one day series being organised on its own or in a tour programme. World competitions have shown to us that ODIs have their own charm in the world of cricket, but series between teams on the other hand has in no way had the same effect. SKW said back in 2009 that tests and t20s were the future with ODIs dying away. KPs disappointing retirement is a reflection of this.